The handbag – an essential item for every single women. We all have one – probably more than one. A few that are our favourites and some that have never been used but are available just in case. Our handbags are either there purely for ‘carting around’ our belongings or as an accessory to our outfit. Our handbags contain our life, our womanhood but have we ever thought of insuring this essential item? Probably not!

To many, handbag insurance may seem like an after-thought, but the truth is that not many woman are aware that they can insure their handbags. It is essential for woman to insure their handbags as they tend to be easy targets for smash and grabs. This was my recent experience and what has led me to tell my story and educate all the women in South Africa.

After a busy day at the office I landed up leaving work at around 8pm. Like any other day, I got into my car, put my seat belt on and turned up my relaxation music for the route home. Unexpectedly, and out of nowhere, a hand came flying through the window and before I knew it my handbag was gone. There are a number of challenges that an individual is faced only seconds later, the shock, the trauma, and the question “what do I do now?” run through your head.

I jotted down the contents of my handbag – what I could remember. Lipstick, cell phone charger, notebook, headphones, house keys, purse, cash, the handbag itself – the list goes on. Once I had completed the inventory of my handbag, I came to the realisation of how much the contents of my handbag were really worth.

To all woman out there, and their beloved handbags, here are a few points to consider should you have the unfortunate experience of a smash and grab:

• Depending on your insurance company and policy, the handbag and certain contents, that do not need to be specified, would be covered under the general all risk item. The limit of compensation would be the limit that is selected by the policyholder. It is important to note that an excess would also apply and the amount depends on the insurance company you are with.
• Therefore, cell phones, iPads, branded sunglasses, money, documents and expensive wallets must be specified in addition to your generic handbag insurance.
• The replacement of items in your handbag can be expensive and are administratively time consuming too:

o Take into account the unexpected costs, such as bank cards which can be approximately R150 each to replace;
o Gym cards and the associated replacement cost should also be considered;
o The issuing of a new ID book and drivers licence will require new photos and additional replacement fees too;
o Any makeup and doctor prescribed medicine / glasses you may carry are costly to replace, and you may even need a new prescription;
o House keys and remotes also carry a cost to replace.

• Replace your broken glass as quickly as possibly by calling your insurance company and making use of a preferred supplier.
• Make sure you get trauma counselling straight away. This service is offered by Mutual & Federal as an included benefit on your household goods and motor sections of a policy. Up to R10 000.00 is given to the policyholder, spouse, children living at home and any domestic staff affected by a violent event.

Having been through this experience, I understand the confusion, stress and trauma one goes through. I have always understood the importance of insurance however, I didn’t know the true value of something I carried over my shoulder daily. Be vigilant, and speak to your broker for the right advice.

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